Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced major food and drinks industry supply chain business Encirc is investing more than £870,000 to develop the skills of its employees.
Based in Derrylin, Fermanagh, it specialises in glass container design, manufacturing, bottling and logistics solutions for the food and drink sector. It distributes its products across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Europe.
Making the announcement, the Minister said: “Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry is our largest manufacturer and is vital to the recovery of our economy. It is now more important than ever that companies in this industry have the right skills to ensure production can continue and to remain competitive for the future.
“My Department is currently developing a new Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland, due to be published next year. This recognises the need for a renewed focus on skills across all levels and sectors in Northern Ireland, to equip businesses to grow and excel in export markets. Encirc’s investment at its Derrylin facility will focus on training its employees to use new technologies and machinery to drive its competiveness and innovation on a global scale.”
The company’s ‘Engage’ programme will bring expertise on-site by training staff in project management and lean manufacturing processes, along with staff wellbeing support and a new apprenticeship programme.
Adrian Curry, Managing Director of Encirc, said: “During COVID-19 we have experienced continued strong demand for our glass bottles from the food and drink retail sector. We have been able to ensure the appropriate social distancing measures in our day-to-day manufacturing processes and our excellent team has been vital to our productivity during these times.
“Our growth strategy focuses on continuing to lead the container glass industry on both sustainability and innovation. To do this we are investing in rebuilding some of the largest furnaces in the world, as well as new systems, equipment and industry 4.0 technologies so that we can ensure increased capacity and productivity. Our people will be trained in innovative ways, such as using virtual reality and software to learn how to operate glass production lines. This will really support training and lead to a much safer and efficient working environment.”
Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £235,082 towards the upskilling of its team, which included strategic advice on the skills best suited to the company needs.
Invest NI’s Chief Executive, Kevin Holland, said: “It is really encouraging to see how Encirc’s innovative growth strategy focusses on investing in its people. Our support will help to accelerate this training so that it can adapt to the current business challenges, secure further global success and positively impact the rebuilding of the Northern Ireland economy.”
Between the Derrylin plant and its sister plant in Cheshire, England, Encirc accounts for more than 35% of container glass for the Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Great Britain